By Noah Ricks
LOUISVILLE, OH – Hubbard baseball is a team that has found the right rhythm at the right time. Going into Tuesday’s district semifinal game against #3 seeded West Branch, the #7 seeded Eagles had the odds stacked against them. It was in that process, though, that they were able to find their own identity and stick to it. That came in the form of a strong defensive performance en route to a 1-0 shutout upset over the Warriors.
West Branch was threatening the Eagles as they found a way to get the bases loaded in two consecutive innings. Yet, in those two innings, the Eagles would hold the Warriors scoreless with huge defensive plays that included big catches in the outfield. Concentrated throws to first base were also key in Hubbard snake biting their opponent at the last given moment.
The Warriors were then driving again in the bottom of the sixth inning, with some nice hits, along with precise base stealing as they sent their leadoff runner to third. Hubbard then, again, left West Branch with no cigar, thanks to the pitching of our YSN Player of the Game Gabe Rusnak. The sophomore, despite a long day that was getting to his arm, kept poise and forced a strikeout to end the inning. That strikeout would be one of five on the evening for Rusnak on four hits. Finally, in the bottom of the seventh, with a runner on, the Warriors got their best hit of the game into the outfield, but a diving catch, along with a superb throw to second, helped put the final nail in the coffin of a thrilling tournament game,
Hubbard improves to 18-11 with the upset victory. They will now play Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in the District Championship game at Louisville on Wednesday, with a 5:00 P.M. first pitch. The Lions will be coming off a nail biting victory of their own, edging Marlington 5-3 in their district semifinal. West Branch ends their season at 20-9.
YSN’s Noah Ricks talked to Hubbard coach John Schiraldi following the game. You can watch the full interview below.